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What Is Anonymous Hosting?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Anonymous hosting is the provision of space on a web server for files to a person or entity that wishes to remain anonymous and untraceable. Such hosting can range from a single file used as a drop for documents and other media to a full private server for a website or network of sites. In all cases, the identity of the owner of the material is obscured for privacy, and it may be difficult or impossible to find out who owns the content, depending on how the host handles privacy issues.

There are several tiers of anonymous hosting. Some hosts require identifying information from their clients for internal records but do not release it in information like domain registration data, replacing the client's identification with their own. These hosts may also resist subpoenas and other attempts to collect information about their clients. In some cases they are located in nations with strict privacy laws to protect their customers. In some situations, however, the information could be released.

Other anonymous hosting is truly anonymous because no identifying data about the customer is collected at any time. When people sign up, they can send confidential payments such as money orders to the host, using a reference number to indicate which account they are paying for. They have login and access information and can use the server freely. Some may choose to use proxies and other tools to make themselves harder to track. If the host is subpoenaed, it has no information to give law enforcement.

Truly anonymous hosting can be more expensive, but may offer more security for some applications. For lower level privacy concerns like a simple desire to keep identifying information relatively obscure, a basic private hosting service that replaces client data with its own may be sufficient. People who want to host confidential or potentially compromising information might need to take more aggressive security measures.

Companies and individuals with an interest in anonymous hosting can get quotes from multiple service providers to learn more about the services available and their price points. It is important to look at issues like downtime statistics, support, and so forth to learn more about the level of service offered by the host. People with concerns about the use of their information may want to check on the host's policies on information release; some hosts may, for example, give out information on clients at request from law enforcement agencies, without the use of a warrant.

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